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New Trend: Doulas for Abortions

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A doula typically supports a woman going through pregnancy and labor. Now, you can get a doula to help you through an abortion too.

woman holding pregnant woman

Approximately 43% of all American women will have an abortion at some point in their childbearing years.

It's a controversial subject that divides many of us, yet one undeniable fact is that it can be a very isolating and difficult experience for a woman. Now, an emerging movement offers support through these difficult times: The Doula Project provides doulas for abortions and can "help explain the procedure, provide a caring touch that doctors cannot." Currently, the program consists of 20 volunteers who operate at a hospital in New York (they have not released the name of the hospital). One abortion doula told Jezebel: "Many of these women probably don't have health insurance or don't know they have options under the law. Many of the women are under familial pressure and most of them are forced to go through the procedure alone."

They perform typical doula tasks like holding the patient's hand, stroking their hair and talking with them. So far, the program has assisted in 500 abortions, even late-term ones. The doulas have 20 hours of clinical training and are present before and after (not during) the procedure.

If your hospital offered you a doula for birth or abortions, would you use one?

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39 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kristin February 18, 2010, 2:09 PM

I think this is a wonderful idea for the reasons in the article. Abortions are stressful and to have someone to help you through the process can make it a much more positive experience.

GPC February 18, 2010, 3:08 PM

Yes, slaughtering babies is stressful…I’m sure Dr. Mengele had one as well. People will do anything for cash.

Inga February 18, 2010, 4:39 PM

F-ed Up!! yes, I would have used a doula for my children’s births if it was offered & if I could have afforded it…but for an abortion? come on! sick!

india February 18, 2010, 4:41 PM

Hmm maybe if u weren’t murdering an innocent baby, you wouldn’t need so much support, you would think these women would stop and think that maybe the reason their so stressed and upset is because their doing something that is absolutely wrong and disgusting and deep down they know it isn’t right, but o what the hell babies cramp ur whoring lifestyle so let’s do it anyway!

Kristy February 18, 2010, 5:55 PM

Wow. It is always shocking to read all the horrible comments from some posters. It is sad that there is so little empathy here. Right or wrong, the fact that 43% of American women will have an abortion shows that there is significant need for services like this in the world. Perhaps instead of cruelly judging women in the position to have an abortion, all of us should extend a helping hand to someone who needs understanding and love. Somehow, I think that is more along the lines of what Jesus would have done, don’t you?

Wow February 18, 2010, 6:20 PM

Previous rude commenters:
Do you realize that not everyone “has” an abortion just because of your so called “whoring ways”. Have you not heard of incest or rape?! There are many many situations that some of you may never understand. The ignorance is just astounding. No on “wants” an abortion, no one. I wouldn’t wish a choice like that on my worst enemy. Instead of holding each other up, we tear each other down for making decisions that you haven’t been faced with…

I hope that these women that are going through such a painful process (for whatever their reason is) get the counseling and guidance in life that they need. Good for them that they get a support system that many before them have not.

india February 18, 2010, 7:00 PM

There is a thing called adoption for one,the morning after pill for two. and for yes there are plenty of women that want abortions I’d say most of the women that have them use them as a form of birth control, I know a woman that had 3 in a period of a year and why did she have them bc she was 2 young for a kid and couldn’t go out partying with a baby, hmm sounds like she wanted those babies bad. Say what you want but there is NO excuse good enough to murder ur own flesh and blood.

miscarried  February 18, 2010, 7:36 PM

i don’t know how many of you are aware of the fact that the procedure for an optional termination of pregnancy and the removing of a spontaneously aborted baby (aka a baby who has died, ie a miscarriage) is the same procedure. For those women who have miscarried by no fault or decision of their own, who are further along in a pregnancy and won’t naturally be able to pass the fetus, having someone to comfort them while they undergo this procedure all the while mourning the loss of their pregnancy and baby, would be a tremendous help. I know I would have liked to not be completely alone when i miscarried since my mother couldn’t be there for me. My husband was there, but there is something about having another woman nurturing you through something like that. So for all you who assume that this is just for women who pick the career path over the mommy path, ease off.

C February 18, 2010, 9:08 PM

I think it’s great that there are caring women helping each other. Jesus taught people to respect and not judge others.

Pamala February 18, 2010, 9:38 PM

I think it’s disturbing to hear that 46% of women will have had an abortion. I’m all for the choice being available but, wow, that’s just insane to me.

I do think women need support during the procedures and shouldn’t have to suffer through it alone.

I have to say to all the people who are insanely judgmental and hostile, why not actually try to help these women out, you know create programs they can do who will fund the cost of a pregnancy so adoptions can be done, or help them learn, etc.. I think that would be more productive than being a b*tch about it.

Anonymous February 19, 2010, 3:47 AM

They have programs to cover the full cost of a pregnancy, you just have to apply for them,also there are millions of people that would love to adopt a newborn baby and that will cover all your expenses through out the pregnancy and birth, so instead of calling someone a b*tch why don’t you get your facts straight first?! Noone considers a d&c an abortion the baby has already passed and a procedure has to be done to remove it, that’s not abortion, abortion is when u have another living person inside of you and you decide to cut it up and have it sucked out of you or one of the other nasty ways abortion is done. Almost half of women have had an abortion, you think all of these women were raped, or had an insestuous relation or like I’ve said a majority of them don’t want a baby messing up their lives.

Leah February 19, 2010, 4:54 AM

WOW -there are some cruel, hard hearted people in this world.

TO ALL WHOM MADE A NEGATIVE COMMENT ABOUT ABORTION - unless you have adopted all of your children or plan on adopting all of your children you’re a hypocrite. It’s about a woman’s right to choose - you choose not to have an abortion, good for you, you can thank all of us PRO-CHOICERS for that option!

I think a doula is a wonderful idea for an abortion. A doula is all about supporting the woman during an emotional/physical time, whether it be birth or abotion.

Rachel February 19, 2010, 6:07 AM

I love all of this sanctimonious, “unless you’ve adopted, or plan on adopting, shut up,” kind of sentiment. Guess what? There are P-L-E-N-T-Y of people in line to adopt kids. And pro-choicers didn’t give me a choice NOT to have an abortion (what a ridiculous, illogical statement - that’s like saying we should thank the military because we can breathe oxygen - whatever). And really, shame on the author of this piece. If you go back and look at the referenced study, you’ll find that the 43% of women will have an abortion number is 18 years old. The study even says that abortion rates, overall, have been declining, so it’s likely and logical that this number has shifted down as well. 18 years is a long time for statistics, particularly for abortion. I mean, go back 18 or 19 years from that and you’re back to the actual Roe v Wade case that legalized abortion in the first place. Some meaningful, current statistics would be in order before throwing numbers around in order to support something… And I have to laugh out loud at the first comment - to make it [abortion] a “much more positive experience.” Is abortion supposed to be a positive experience? I don’t think we ever need to make it a positive experience. Neutral is about as far as I’m willing to go on the “positive/negative” experience scale.

Christy February 19, 2010, 7:09 AM

The staff at the clinic that did my abortion were kind and sweet to me. I guess I wouldn’t have needed a doula.

lisa February 19, 2010, 7:41 AM

People are beyond judgmental. Not everyone who gets an abortion WANTS to— ok? I had an abortion because my baby was not healthy — before you harshly judge, have a heart! I would have loved to have someone standing there holding my hand when I woke up from the surgery. INstead I got a busy nurse who does these routinely. Not the most caring…

It’s a wonderful IDEA!!!!

calimommi February 19, 2010, 8:22 AM

From the bottom of my sactified soul…There is no way Jesus would have comforted someone while they were sinning! What He offers is forgiveness and compassion and encouragement to resist evil.

miscarried  February 19, 2010, 8:27 AM

a d and c is still the same procedure, and it’s not like the nursing staff knows whether or not you’re there optionally or because you’ve miscarried. so if someone had asked me if i’d like someone to comfort me through the procedure, i would have appreciated the option. i am pro-life. i don’t think an abortion is a good thing (with the exception of incest/rape and i am all for pregnancy counseling and adoption. However, that being said, be it a boob job, the stomach flu, seasonal depression or for any other reason we may need a friend or an emotional supporter, we as women owe it to each other to be that friend we would want. we owe it to our sex to be kind and compassionate. We may not know why someone is having the procedure, and we may not agree with such a procedure, but being kind is not synonymous with condoning. We can disapprove empathetically, we can say, “i don’t agree with what you’re doing. i think it’s wrong. but you are still a human being, and i will treat you kindness the way i would anyone else.” And really, lets be honest, who out there doesn’t need another friend?

Pamala February 19, 2010, 9:49 AM

I love it how people say adoption is easily done. First off it’s expensive to have a baby, and not all areas have the programs or the outreach to the community to give those programs. How do you find programs when no one is out there to help you find them? Then adoption on top of it. If so many damn people are willing to adopt why are so many children in foster care still? Oh yeah, everyone wants the perfect baby, not a toddler, 3 year old, 6 year old, crack baby, special needs child.

It’s easy to judge but if adoption was so popular, why are people leaving the country and adopting outside the country instead of within? It’s not because the “supply” is low.

Jamie February 19, 2010, 10:33 AM

Sorry Rachel, but Pro-Choicers DO give you the right to not choose abortion. Unlike anti-choice contigencies we believe in a woman’s right to her body, whether that be having a baby or terminating a pregnancy or giving up a child for adoption - we believe in a woman’s choice.
And I 100% agree w/Leah, if you are willing to adopt all of your children then you are a hypocrite who is saying “? There are P-L-E-N-T-Y of people in line to adopt kids” if that were true why are there so many kids in the adoption system (in which I work) and foster care? Because people DON’T want to adopt unless the babies are healthy, white males, which are not the majority of children given up for adoption.
Please don’t comment about things you don’t understand. You choose not to have an abortion, good for you. BUT your choice isn’t right for the entire world. Woman could certainly use the support of a doula whether terminating a pregnancy or giving birth.

Anonymous February 19, 2010, 10:36 AM

“From the bottom of my sactified soul…There is no way Jesus would have comforted someone while they were sinning! What He offers is forgiveness and compassion and encouragement to resist evil.”

SO now you’re speaking directly to Jesus because he told you this? WOW amazing call the pope. No where in the bible does it say “Thou shalt not have an abortion” Get over yourselves.

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